A version of this story was first published September 15, 2020. It has been updated.
Let's face it—any holiday happening during COVID times may feel weird, especially when it comes to holidays with big meaning. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated from Monday, September 6th to Wednesday, September 8th, 2021—and like last year, it may feel quite different for your family.
You may be opting to attend services virtually this year, choose for a small outdoor gathering or perhaps you are choosing to skip the big family gathering all together.
The good news is that with holidays like Rosh Hashanah, maintaining the traditions that are possible (even during a pandemic) will help the time to feel special and reminiscent of your fondest memories. And what is one of those oh-so-important Rosh Hashanah traditions? The food!
We know people have strong opinions about the traditional recipes of Rosh Hashanah: Are you on #TeamGefilteFish or #TeamNoThankYou? But one thing's for certain: The rich and beautiful traditions of Rosh Hashanah can never be taken away. So blow the shofar, light the candles and enjoy the celebrations. Shanah tovah!
Here are 10 delicious Rosh Hashanah recipes to help you celebrate the Jewish New Year.
Honey whole wheat challah
Serves: 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf
Total time: 8 hours
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2-2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks + 1 tsp water + 1 tsp honey
- Whole flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds (optional)
- Thick sea salt (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
- In a large bowl mix together 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, salt and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil and honey, and mix well.
- Add another 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup regular flour and eggs, and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
- Add another 1 1/2 to 2 cups of mixed flour, mixing thoroughly and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining 1/2 cup flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).
- Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise at least 4 hours, punching down at least once if possible.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Braid challah, and allow challah to rise another 90 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light. This step is very important to ensure a light and fluffy challah.
- In a small bowl beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and 1 tsp honey.
- Brush egg wash generously over challah. Sprinkle with seeds and thick sea salt if desired.
- If making one large challah, bake around 28 minutes; if making two smaller challahs, bake 24 to 26 minutes. When making round challot, make sure the middle has cooked through, which might require an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.
Recipe from The Nosher
Total time: 4 hours
- 3 1/2 lb whitefish filets, coarsely ground (head, bones and tail reserved)
- 1 lb yellow pike filets, coarsely ground (head, bones and tail reserved)
- 1/2 lb carp filets, coarsely ground (head, bones and tail reserved)
- 6 medium yellow onions, peeled
- 8 medium-large carrots, peeled and trimmed
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 cups club soda
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 1 package of cheesecloth (9 square feet)
- 3 packets of gelatin, optional (kosher options do exist)
- Rinse the reserved fish trimmings (head, bones and tails) and place in the bottom of a fish poaching pot.
- Fill the pot to the halfway mark with water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam or impurities that rise to the surface. Note: Unless you have a special burner on your stove that will accommodate the poaching pot, set the pot across two burners to heat the pot evenly.
- Slice 2 of the onions into ½-inch thick rounds and lay on top of the fish trimmings. Place a rack inside the pot. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer while preparing the filling.
- Place the ground fish in a large mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the remaining four onions and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the onions 5 to 10 times until finely chopped, but not mushy. Add the onions to the ground fish. Coarsely chop four of the carrots and pulse in the food processor 5 to 10 times until finely chopped, but not mushy. Add the carrots to the bowl with the onions and fish and mix until evenly combined.
- Place the ground-fish mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, incorporate one egg at a time. Add salt, pepper and sugar. With the mixer still going, add club soda and matzo meal and mix until combined.
- Spread the cheesecloth, then fold it in half. Remove the cover of the pot and gently lay the cheesecloth over the opening so that there is about 1 to 2 inches of overlay around the edges of the pot.
- Using a large spoon or spatula, fill the cheesecloth evenly with the fish mixture (up to the top edge of the pot), being careful not to pack it down too tightly. Smooth the top of the mixture evenly with the back of your spoon, and tuck the edges of cheesecloth into the pot (you will need them again later to lift the loaf out of the pot). Essentially, you are creating a little cheesecloth hammock for the gefilte loaf to rest in and hold its shape while it cooks. Cover and lower heat to a gentle simmer.
- Cook for 1 hour, then lay the remaining whole carrots over the top of the gefilte loaf. Cover and let cook for an additional 1 1/2 - 2 hours. You may need to adjust the heat as it cooks to maintain a gentle simmer, so keep and eye on the heat while it cooks. The finished gefilte should be light in color, firm to the touch and the carrots should be cooked through.
- Remove the whole carrots from the top of the loaf and reserve for garnish. Carefully (and ideally with help from an extra set of hands), remove the loaf from the poaching pot by pulling up on the edges of the cheesecloth. Place the loaf, cheesecloth side down, on a large platter, plate or cutting board. Place another large platter over the top of the loaf and carefully invert so that you can easily remove the cheesecloth. Let cool, and then cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
- For serving: Slice the loaf into ½-inch slices and the carrots into ¼-inch rounds. Serve on a bed of iceberg lettuce, with a few sliced carrot rounds and a dollop of beet horseradish.
Recipe from Jewish Food Society
Apple honey bowl
Total time: 10 minutes
- 3-4 apples
- 1 lemon's worth of juice juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- Remove the core of the apple and hollow out the sides, being careful not to cut through the sides or bottom.
- Rub lemon juice on the cut inside to keep it from turning brown.
- Fill the apple with honey and place it in the center of a plate. Surround your apple honey dish with lemon juice sprinkled apple slices for dipping.
Recipe from: Reform Judaism
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 1 cup raisins, craisins, dried chopped apricots or chopped drained pineapple
- 12 oz wide egg noodles
- 6 large eggs
- 1 lb sour cream (2 cups)
- 8 oz cottage cheese (1 cup)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened - OR farmer's cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Cinnamon and sugar for dusting
- Your favorite kugel topping (streusel, crushed graham crackers, cornflakes, etc.).
- Nonstick cooking oil spray
- Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Cover the raisins with hot water and let them soak to plump while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles to the pot, bring to a boil and cook until tender (not overly soft), about 5 minutes. Drain and return the cooked noodles to the pot.
- In a food processor or blender, blend the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sugar, melted butter and salt.
- Pour the egg mixture over the cooked noodles in the pot and stir until well combined.
- Drain the raisins. Stir them into the noodles.
- Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking oil. Pour the noodle mixture into the dish.
- Top the kugel by sprinkling generously with sugar and lightly with cinnamon. Alternatively, you can use your favorite kugel topping.
- Bake the kugel for about 60 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking, until the center of the kugel is set and the tips of the noodles turn golden brown. Remove from the oven.
- Let the kugel rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Kugel can be served warm or cold.
Recipe from Tori Avey
Serves: 3 cups
Total time: 1 hour
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken livers
- 6 to 8 tbsp chicken schmaltz
- 3 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound), 1 peeled but left whole with the root end intact, the rest finely chopped
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- Cleaning the livers. Rinse each under cold running water. With a sharp knife, separate the two lobes. Cut away any visible fat, membrane or green patches on the livers. Place in a strainer to drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the schmaltz in a large 10 or 12-inch heavy pan. Add chopped onions and saute, over medium-high heat, until soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add cleaned, drained livers and saute until cooked through 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add salt and black pepper. Allow any liquid that the livers release to evaporate as they cook. Remove from the heat and cool.
- If using a wooden chopping bowl, transfer cooked livers and onions to it. Using a metal chopping blade, chop cooked livers into small diced pieces. Some of the livers will turn into mush, others will hold their shape. The goal is to attain a spreadable combination of small pieces and paste.
- If not using a chopping bowl, chop each liver by hand on a cutting board using a very sharp knife, and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add chopped eggs, mix well, and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Adding more schmaltz will smooth out the flavor of the liver and the texture. Use your judgment. The chopped liver can be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated at this point.
- On the day of serving, remove the liver from the refrigerator.
- Using a handheld box grater, grate the remaining onion into the liver, holding on to the root end to leverage. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning, which will have changed after sitting and chilling.
Recipe from Jamie Geller
Vegan chopped liver
Total time: 1 hour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (use white, baby bella, or cremini)
- 3/4 cup roasted cashews (see note)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onions slowly over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until nicely browned. Add the mushrooms and cook until they've wilted down.
- Combine the onions and mushrooms with the remaining ingredients in the container of a food processor. Process until smoothly pureed, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Serve at once with matzo, matzo crackers, or raw veggies. Or store in a tightly lidded container in the fridge until needed, and bring to room temperature before serving.
Recipe from VegKitchen
Sweet and sour brisket
Total time: 11 hours
- 4 pounds beef brisket
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Heat brisket in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook until browned on all sides.
- Stir in water, ketchup, vinegar, onions, garlic, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Continue simmering until tender, turning brisket occasionally, 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours and 30 minutes.
- Remove brisket and allow to cool before slicing the meat against the grain.
- Place brisket slices in a 9x13 inch baking pan or large platter and pour gravy on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove any excess fat and reheat before serving.
Recipe from All Recipes
Sweet + spicy roast chicken with carrots, dates + pistachios
Total time: 1 Hour 15 minutes, plus 6 hours marinating time
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 6 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice, from 2 oranges
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 6 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks and breasts)
- 3 cups 1/4-inch sliced carrots
- 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced dried dates
- 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
- 2 scallions, light and dark green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish
- 1/4 cup chopped salted pistachios, for garnish
- Make the marinade: In a medium bowl whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, red pepper flakes, garlic, thyme and salt.
- Place the chicken, carrots, onions, and dates in a large sealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and seal shut. Massage to make sure everything is evenly coated with the marinade. Place the bag on a rimmed sheet pan to protect against leakage and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and set an oven rack in the middle position.
- Transfer all ingredients from the bag, including the marinade, to a rimmed sheet pan (do not line the pan with foil). Turn the chicken skin side up. Roast until chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. About halfway through cooking, stir the carrots so that they don't burn around the edges of the pan.
- Turn on broiler (leave pan on middle rack), and cook 1 to 3 minutes more, or until skin is golden brown and crispy. Watch carefully: the honey in the marinade can cause the skin to burn quickly.
- Transfer the chicken, carrots, onions and dates onto a platter, along with the sauce in the pan. Sprinkle the parsley, scallions and pistachio nuts over top and serve.
Recipe from Once Upon a Chef
Roasted carrot and sweet potato tzimmes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours
- 6–8 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 2 pounds carrots
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 pound shallots (about 8 large)
- 1/2–3/4 pound dried plums or pitted prunes
- 3–4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white or black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a swivel-blade vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 2 of the oranges and the lemon. Be sure to press down only hard enough to capture the colored part of the skin, not the bitter white pith. Juice enough oranges to yield 2 1/2 cups juice. Reserve the lemon for another use.
- Peel the carrots and cut them crosswise into 2-inch chunks or lengthwise into 2-inch chunks (if carrots are very fat, first halve them lengthwise).
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into large bite-size chunks. Peel and quarter the shallots lengthwise. Use kitchen scissors to snip the dried fruits in half.
- Use a roasting pan large enough to hold all the vegetables in more or less a single layer. Place carrots, sweet potatoes, shallots, dried fruit and lemon and orange zest in the pan. Toss with enough olive oil to coat evenly, season with salt and pepper, and pour the juice over it all.
- Roast the vegetables, turning them once or twice during cooking, until they are tender and are browned in places and most of the juice is absorbed, about 1¼ hours. If you want a saucier finished dish, add another ½ to 1 cup juice during the last 20 minutes of cooking. The juice should thicken slightly.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe from Amelia Saltsman
Arabic date and honey cake
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1/3 cup salted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 8-10 whole, pitted dates
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter.
- Beat together the eggs, sugars and vanilla until the mixture whitens in color. Drizzle in the melted butter and continue to mix well. Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add to the batter while stirring gently.
- Pour the batter into the spring-form pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- While it is in the oven, start preparing the topping. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugars, honey, almonds and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour the topping gently on the cake and return it to the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Let the cake cool, then release it from the spring-form pan and plate on a cake stand or serving platter.
- Line the edge of the cake with the dates. Serve with coffee.
Recipe from The Wanderlist Kitchen